INDIVIDUAL USERS of Google Apps will get a two-step sign-in process for their accounts after the search engine company delivers the security upgrade for business users.
Reassuring us that two-step verification is easy to set up, Google said signing in will require a password and a connected device, for example a mobile phone. After the user enters a password a verification code is sent to the mobile phone via SMS or generated on an application that's installed on an Android, Blackberry or Apple handset. The Iphone app is not yet available, however.
The theory behind these two-steps being secure is that the password might be hacked but the hacker won't have the mobile device. Google's two-step verification software is built on an open standard that will allow integration with other vendors' authentication technologies in the future. The mobile authentication app will also be open source.
Google said, "For the first time, we're making it possible for organizations large and small to use this technology in just a few clicks for free. In the coming months, we'll also be offering this same security to our hundreds of millions of individual Google users."
In 2009 Google added the ability to view password strength and set minimum password length requirements for Google Apps accounts. Also last year Google provided HTTPS encryption for users and this year Google Apps gained US government security certification. But considering how pants much of US government network security is, is that reassuring? µ
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